Editors’ Picks: Top 10 Under $20

Jul 25, 2013 5 Comments by

No matter how experienced you are, everyone wants the most for their RC money, so the editors got together to compare notes about their favorite tools and gadgets. We limited our choices to $20 or less and came up with this collection of very useful products and tools that increase our hobby enjoyment. If value is what you’re looking for, here’s a collection that won’t break the bank!

Du-Bro Swivel Ball Link w/Hardware 4–40

These popular swivel ball links are made to fit 4–40 threaded rods and are most commonly used for high-performance aerobatic planes and giant-scale aircraft. They provide slop-free connections for your control linkages and their swivel ball design provides smooth, friction-free action. The hardware is included and there are two per package. Hardware includes: two 4–40 Allen head screws, two spacers, and two nuts. $3.78 dubro.com

AeroBroach Hinge Slotters

Available in three sizes, each slotting broach is a pre-determined thickness to make the correct slot width for the type of hinge being installed. The “CA” broach is designed for use with the Cyanoacrylate Adhesive (CA) type, the “60” broach designed for use with the standard pre-pinned hinges such as Du-Bro #116 for up to .60-size airplanes, and the “¼” broach intended for the heavy-duty, two-piece plastic pinned hinges such as Du-Bro #257 that is commonly installed in quarter-scale airplanes. A set of three sizes is $17.95. aerobroach.com

Classic Cutters

Ever wish for a better way to cut a metal pushrod wire to length? Well, there is. The Classic Cutter is available in two sizes, and this heavy-duty cutter has unique converging cutting jaws that draw the part being cut into the tool and do not push it out as most other cutters do. These are a great addition to your toolbox and make quick work of all your metal wire-cutting jobs. The Classic Cutter no. 001 (3/32 inch) is $16.20, and no. 002 (3/16 inch) is $18.20. bbtools.net

ElectriFly CellMatch

This measures and displays individual cell voltages and remaining battery power of 2–6 cell LiPo and Li-Ion packs. It also identifies voltage differences and discharge balances each cell automatically. There are built-in connectors are compatible with 3–7 pin balancing leads on ElectriFly brand LiPo batteries with an adapter for FlightPower/ThunderPower included. $19.99 electrifly.com

Harry Higley Safety Spinner Nuts and Heavy Hubs

When it comes to securing your propeller safely to your engine, the Harry Higley line of Safety Spinner Nuts and Heavy Hubs (now distributed by Sullivan Products) have for years proved to be perfect for the job. Use along with the hex-shaped prop locks and your propeller will stay put even when using a powerful electric starter. The heavier brass hub nuts are also great for adding nose weight to balance your plane. Available in several sizes and styles, the Hubs and Safety Nuts are $6.70 to $19.95 and the Prop Locks are less than $5. harryhigley.com

RTL Fasteners Hardware Value Packs

When it comes to building and assembling RC models, you are always in the need of good-quality hardware—that being nuts, washers, screws, and bolts. RTL Fasteners is a great one-stop shopping destination. From its Standard 84-piece Set Screw Assortment with Organizer box ($19.95) to all its high-count value packs of hardware like the 50-count 2–56×½-inch Stainless Steel Socket Head Cap Screw, set ($5.40); 50-count M5 Lock (split) Washer set ($1.50); and 24-count 4–40 Hex Nuts set ($1.40), RTL Fasteners’ hardware is a great value when it comes to supplying your workshop with quality fasteners. rtlfasteners.com

Master Airscrew Razor Plane

If you are a balsa-building RC modeler, you know that there’s a lot of shaping and forming of wood parts involved in building a model kit. One tool I cannot live without is also one of the simplest, the tried and true Razor Plane from Master Airscrew. This tool eats through balsa to form leading edges and wingtips and is perfect for beveling and tapering wood stock of any size. Designed to work with heavy-duty industrial grade .017-inch × 1-¾-inch cutting blades, its molded plastic body will last for years. $7.35 (replacement blades available) masterairscrew.com

Du-Bro Colorful Micro Clevises and Razor Horns

You can always count on the folks at Du-Bro to come up with popular hardware for the RC modeler. Their latest offering is color-coordinated molded clevises and control horns to give your model a finished, professional look. The new Long Arm Micro Clevises and Micro Razor Control Horns are ideally matched for each other. Packaged two to a set, both the control horns ($2.49) and the clevises for .032-inch pushrods ($1.47) are a great choice for any lightweight RC park flyer. dubro.com

RAm Products RAM Wireless Micro Lites

To keep your plane well lit for night flying, or for some added visual orientation in the early evening, try these lightweight, self-contained lights. Each weighs just five grams and is powered by a replaceable button LiPo cell that lasts up to five days. $14.95 ramrcandramtrack.com

PB Swiss Tools, Electronics Grade Screwdrivers

PB Swiss Tools offers several common and Phillips-head screwdrivers ideally sized for the RC modeler. They are all made from the finest-grade materials and are intended to last a lifetime. Available in various lengths and sizes, each has a sure-grip handle with a swivel end-cap. $7 to $10 pbswisstools.com

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About the author

Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

5 Responses to “Editors’ Picks: Top 10 Under $20”

  1. Pedro Thormann says:

    Having the right tools, you can not believe HOW you could live before them….

  2. Ray Stokes says:

    Thanks for all the tips…one of my favs is this: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__12439__master_airscrew_balsa_stripper.html
    Balsa stripper at 4.95 from “good ole Hobby King”. Another essential is CA Debonder! Esp usefull with very thin CA (seems to find a way to attach me to my planes). And while I’m at it, the small, rare earth button magnets from Harbor Freight. Wish you would put a running link for submissions on your website…

  3. Ray Stokes says:

    Failed to mention price on two items…the magnets are 2.99 at Harbor Freight and the de-bonder is 2.99 to 4.95 at most places.

  4. Daniel says:

    Funny that Hobbyking didn’t get one item in this… Smells fishy

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